OAKLAND, Calif. - An estimated 36.3 million trees died across California in 2022, according to a new report from the U.S. Forest Service.
That's a 282% increase from 2021 and the highest number since 2016, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The drought is the biggest reason, according to the Forest Service, as the lack of water weakens the trees and makes them more susceptible for bugs to infect and eat them.
Specifically, last year's count saw the largest death toll of fir trees. There were 28 million dead fir trees – 15.2 million dead red fir and 12.8 million dead white fir – mostly in the Sierra Nevada.
The Forest Service warned that all these dead trees will make for a bad fire season.